Noise pollution is critical to the performance of any digital system, but it is super-critical when it comes to streamer and server performance. In creating the Reference Server, we built a single chassis unit with a sophisticated internal supply. We weren’t ready for the results…
The musical capabilities of the Reference Server not only surpassed those of all previous file-based sources, they revealed just how vulnerable file replay is to the noise artefacts generated by power supplies. The supply built into the Reference Server already delivers unprecedented performance compared to previous server designs. But if we ignore size, space and cost limitations, we can do even better!
The Reference Power Supply is the quietest power supply we have ever built. Its noise performance defeats even the most sophisticated measuring instruments. Sophisticated modelling and specially developed equipment have calculated that the RMS noise on its DC output, under full load, is less than 100nV (0.01Hz – 20kHz). That’s quiet! But that is just the steady-state noise level in the traditional sense. Other noise mechanisms exist, especially at these previously undetectable levels. The varying load conditions encountered in all audio applications are particularly problematic, generating both linear and non-linear distortion, the latter being particularly difficult to detect and measure, despite its insidious impact on musical performance.
In order to combat this erosion of DC and thus audio quality, we felt it necessary to take extraordinary steps. We built a dedicated design into our precision machined, segmented and mechanically damped, tripartite chassis in order to eliminate externally induced mechanical or electrical noise. Internal separation eliminated acoustic coupling and radiation between sections and components, while circuit design, active components and overall topology drew on the experience of the power supplies designed and built for the standard-setting Reference DAC. Component characteristics and quality were critical, specific performance criteria often eliminating the obvious choice. We paid particular attention to questions of ground quality, both inside AND outside the unit and engineered the reversal of electrical phase at the input.
The result is almost 1500 parts built into the most sophisticated and adaptable power supply available, a unit designed specifically to meet the demands of the Reference Server. Its contribution to musical performance is fundamental, helping to create the best performance from file replay (and according to experienced, critical commentators, the best performance from ANY digital source) ever experienced. The Reference Server already sets the standard for musical performance when it comes to streaming or playing locally stored files. Adding the Reference Power Supply redefines that performance, elevating digital replay to a whole new level.